Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Biggest Movies of 2009

according to the Times.

Is Winona Ryder enough to make me watch the Star Trek movie? Probably not. What is of interest? Not much-- Nottingham, Wolverine, Public Enemies, and Terminator Salvation. Will Quentin Tarantino's be forced to trim down Inglourious Basterds?
Ron Paul Answers your Questions, Part 1 (via LRC blog)

Q: It was mentioned you were in favor of getting rid of the Department of Education. Is this true, and if so, how do you feel this would benefit the country?

A: I do believe in eliminating the Department of Education.

First, the Constitution does not authorize the Department of Education, and the founders never envisioned the federal government dictating those education policies.

Second, it is a huge bureaucracy that squanders our money. We send billions of dollars to Washington and get back less than we sent. The money would be much better off left in states and local communities rather than being squandered in Washington.

Finally, I think that the smallest level of government possible best performs education. Teachers, parents, and local community leaders should be making decisions about exactly how our children should be taught, not Washington bureaucrats. The Department of Education has given us No Child Left Behind, massive unfunded mandates, indoctrination, and in come cases, forced medication of our children with psychotropic drugs. We should get rid of all of that and get those choices back in the hands of the people.
IGN: "Through the Eyes of Bryan Singer" Featurette

for Valkyrie...

Saturday at St. Albert's

by Ann Torrini

Today is the Feast Day of St. Albert the Great, and the patronal feast day for St. Albert's Priory. Fr. Augustine Thompson, who teaches at UVa, celebrated a Missa Cantata in the Dominican rite, Brother Boniface led the schola, which sounded quite good.

A shot of the schola (their backs)--I was sitting all the way in the back of the chapel, alas. I wish I could have gotten better photos... and if I had more memory on the camera I would have recorded more of the chants as well.

Some photos of the Mass:

There was a photographer there, and one of the brothers was recording the Mass and ceremony on video. Fr. Augustine told me the video and photos will be posted at the province's website. The link should be posted at NLM once it becomes available.

I noticed that Fr. Moreau of the Institute was there for most of the liturgy -- I assume he left before it was finished because of pastoral duties. I didn't recognize him sitting in the choir stall at first; what caught my attention was his biretta's distinctive blue tuft, which is proper to the Institute.

After the Mass Fr. Augustine was conferred with the honor of Master of Sacred Theology. He then gave a lecture, which was quite pleasant and not at all boring, though it may have gone over the heads of some of the laity in attendance.

I especially liked what he said about monastic theology being rooted in living as a Christian, personal sanctity, unlike modern 'academic' theology. Fr. Augustine also mentioned the importance of the liturgy and how it should be central to both Christian spirituality and to theology.

Being at St. Albert's today reminded me that there are some places here in California where a Catholic can find some temporary refuge--visiting Sacramento with Sarge should be interesting.

At lunch I met some self-proclaimed "Dominican groupies," two women who were members of Dominican parishes. They were at the table, along with Br. B, our friend (Prof.) DP, and myself. It was a nice conversation--it would be great to have more of those. (In case you are wondering Sarge, they were rather tall.)

Related links:
St. Albert the Great
Salve Regina
Sung Si Kyung 연연 Full Version(그들이 사는 세상OST)

From Song Hye Gyo's latest drama... 그들이 사는 세상

K-Drama - 'The World They Live In' Press Conference

Friday, November 14, 2008

I should be attending this tomorrow morning. I hope I remember my camera.

Edit. The original post at NLM has been deleted. Here is my post of what happened.
The ST trailer did play at some theaters (not all) showing Quantum of Solace--as you might expect, some fans did bring a camcorder with them. I saw one of those uploaded clips. Yes, my opinion of the movie has not improved. Is it a reboot? A reimagining? (A "reintroduction" according to Roberto Orci and JJ Abrams.) Does it take place in the privileged timeline? An alternate timeline/universe? An alternate timeline/universe which becomes the privileged timeline/universe? (Does Pike die in the movie? What other subtle changes result due to the villain Nero's influence?) Is it realistic for the characters to have had the development when their lives have been altered so much? Was Kirk always the bad boy looking for a purpose in life? Or was he more of a nerd at Starfleet Academy as fans have stated, basing their opinion on 'canon'?

Kirk was older in TOS, and that is the character we have come to know... the ladies' man, cunning, brave, a rule-breaker (or bender) in the pursuit of what is right. Chris Pine's Kirk seems too young (barely out of the Academy?) with 'teen angst' issues--it does not seem he would make a good leader of men, one who inspires loyalty and devotion from his crew. The trailer is not edited in such a way to provide a different view of him.

Does everything get set 'right' at the end of the movie? I doubt that this is the case. We will have to wait for the movie to be released, the fans to react, and Abrams to react to them before we get an idea of what he and his collaborators were thinking when they started this project. Has JJ Abrams's talent been exaggerated up to this point? I thought Felicity and Alias were overrated, and the jury is still out on Lost (though perhaps one can distinguish between his contribution and that of others on each of these). I still haven't seen Cloverfield, and M:I 3 was ok as an action movie, but still more of a Tom Cruise vanity mirror.

Edit. If you can't wait for the official web release (which should be on Monday), you can find the trailer at TrekMovie.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Andrew Cusack: Russia Turns a Cinematic Page in History

official website
trailers for Admiral Kolchak @ Twitch
The Siberian White Army 1918-1923
Russia Blog: Kolchak (The Admiral) Reviewed

Related: Sluga Gosudarev
AP: Prince Charles turns 60 waiting for throne

LONDON, NOVEMBER 13: (EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 14, 2008) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales poses for an official portrait to mark his 60th birthday, photo taken on November 13, 2008 in London, England.

official website of the British Monarchy
"Today Won't Come Again", Hayley Westenra and Jonathan Ansell - Festival of Remembrance 2008

Jonathan Ansell and Hayley Westenra singing Today Won't Come Again at the Festival ...
Hayley Westenra & Jonathan Ansell - Today Won't Come Again
Jonathan Ansell and Hayley Westenra Here's To the Heroes

Hayley Westenra - Amazing Grace

Hayley Westenra sings Amazing Grace

Wow. Going a bit too far?

SC priest: No communion for Obama supporters

By MEG KINNARD, Associated Press Writer Meg Kinnard, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 39 mins ago

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote.

"Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president," Newman wrote, referring to Obama by his full name, including his middle name of Hussein.

"Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."

During the 2008 presidential campaign, many bishops spoke out on abortion more boldly than four years earlier, telling Catholic politicians and voters that the issue should be the most important consideration in setting policy and deciding which candidate to back. A few church leaders said parishioners risked their immortal soul by voting for candidates who support abortion rights.

But bishops differ on whether Catholic lawmakers — and voters — should refrain from receiving Communion if they diverge from church teaching on abortion. Each bishop sets policy in his own diocese. In their annual fall meeting, the nation's Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights.

According to national exit polls, 54 percent of Catholics chose Obama, who is Protestant. In South Carolina, which McCain carried, voters in Greenville County — traditionally seen as among the state's most conservative areas — went 61 percent for the Republican, and 37 percent for Obama.

"It was not an attempt to make a partisan point," Newman said in a telephone interview Thursday. "In fact, in this election, for the sake of argument, if the Republican candidate had been pro-abortion, and the Democratic candidate had been pro-life, everything that I wrote would have been exactly the same."

Conservative Catholics criticized Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004 for supporting abortion rights, with a few Catholic bishops saying Kerry should refrain from receiving Holy Communion because his views were contrary to church teachings.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said she had not heard of other churches taking this position in reaction to Obama's win. A Boston-based group that supports Catholic Democrats questioned the move, saying it was too extreme.

"Father Newman is off base," said Steve Krueger, national director of Catholic Democrats. "He is acting beyond the authority of a parish priest to say what he did. ... Unfortunately, he is doing so in a manner that will be of great cost to those parishioners who did vote for Sens. Obama and Biden. There will be a spiritual cost to them for his words."

A man who has attended St. Mary's for 18 years said he welcomed Newman's message and anticipated it would inspire further discussion at the church.

"I don't understand anyone who would call themselves a Christian, let alone a Catholic, and could vote for someone who's a pro-abortion candidate," said Ted Kelly, 64, who volunteers his time as lector for the church. "You're talking about the murder of innocent beings."


On the Net:

St. Mary's Catholic Church:

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Is this report accurate? I haven't checked the church's website yet; Fr. Newman has a good reputation but is this warning really appropriate? It doesn't seem to match the nuanced position put forth by Cardinal Ratzinger in his memo to Cardinal McCarick--it seems unlikely that the parishioners would have voted for Obama precisely because he is permissive regarding abortion. Even if one were to give such a warning only once Obama took office and if he took measures to threaten the lives of the unborn, can voters who did not consider the probability of this happening to be significant be held to account? (E.g. those Catholics who believed that Obama would not help bring about the passing of FOCA or do much to change the status quo?)
Stills of Australia @ IGN. If I watch the movie, it will be for the hats...

Crossing Over trailer. Via AICN. Clearly, agitprop for multiculturalism and the proposition nation (and perhaps unrestricted immigration as well).

‘Crossing Over’ Trailer: Is Harrison Ford Stuck in ‘Traffic’?

Harrison Ford Web
Alice Braga looks different from her appearance in Redbelt.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Society Publishers: Small is Possible: Life in a Local Economy, by Lyle Estill

Piedmont Biofuels
An Interview with Lyle Estill

Taking the Pulse w/ Lyle Estill pt1

Taking the Pulse w/ Lyle Estill pt2
Taking the Pulse w/ Lyle Estill pt3
Transition Culture: Book Review: Preparing for Peak Oil: local authorities and the energy crisis (includes link to free download of the book)

A look at JJ Abrams's NCC-1701

source: EW, via Twitch

Reaction at

Edited: Big Reaction To New Enterprise - New Designer Responds
Gabe Koerner's website appears--many fans have expressed a preference for his updated design of the Constitution class over what has been offered here.

Twitch: Lau Ching Wan And Johnnie To Together Again For DEATH OF A HOSTAGE

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From the producers of 24

Lie to Me: another show about someone who solves crimes through a 'different skills set...

Tim Roth to star in Fox's 'Lie to Me'
Tim Roth Knows What You're Thinking In 'Lie To Me'

Tim Roth & The Cast of "Lie To Me"

GL, Feeding, catching, and butchering chickens

Feeding, catching, and butchering chickens
Gene Logsdon,

Butchering anything is disagreeable work. But if a person is going to eat meat, he can hardly avoid the work just for that reason and not be a hypocrite. And because chickens are the one animal eminently practical for all homesteads (even the smallest), knowing how to butcher them can be a very handy skill to acquire.

KunstlerCast, via Energy Bulletin

KunstlerCast #37: Impotent Politics, The Increasing Irrelevance of our Two Political Parties
AFP Video: Kimono comeback in Japan

20 minutes of the Star Trek movie screened in London; spoilers

via AICN: Star Trek Footage Revealed and Star Trek: four full scenes and new trailer reviewed

Terrible--everything that was wrong with Star Fleet Academy and more. Some may complain about the continuity errors and divergences from established Star Trek canon. I'd be more concerned about the juvenile adultlescent aspects of the story. Chekhov as some sort of genius? I don't think he was really that great of an officer--as far as I know, he never got his own command.

Plus, two new posters. (also via AICN)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Schwarzenegger Urges Supreme Court to Overturn Proposition 8
Schwarzenegger tells backers of gay marriage: Don't give up

How about an excommunication for the governator?

AP: Chinese emperor's lavish quarters are restored

Chinese emperor's lavish quarters are restored

By CHARLES HUTZLER, Associated Press Writer Charles Hutzler, Associated Press Writer – Mon Nov 10, 9:25 am ET

BEIJING – In between dispatching armies to secure the empire and building China into the richest country in the world, the Qianlong Emperor commissioned a retirement home for himself in the Forbidden City palace.

Never intended as a simple hideaway, the garden quarters built in the 1770s by the fifth emperor in the Qing Dynasty set a standard for opulence befitting an emperor renowned for his power and refinement: screens inlaid with rare hardwoods, intricate silk embroideries, delicate carvings of jade and bamboo.

To Chinese eyes of 200 years ago, it screams wealth. "It's as if everything is gold-plated," said Nancy Berliner, a curator of Chinese art at Massachusetts' Peabody Essex Museum.

Unused and sealed off for most the past century, the garden is three years into a 12-year restoration. One part, a lavish apartment and private theater for the emperor — the Studio of Exhaustion from Diligent Service — was officially completed Monday and will be open to the public next year for the first time ever.

Having been largely abandoned, damaged by neglect rather than the vandalism that ruined many Chinese antiquities, the studio contains one of the best-preserved interiors from Imperial China.

More than that, the garden marks a time when China's wealth and power reached an apex. When the Qianlong Emperor started the garden at the age of 61, his armies had extended the Qing empire's borders deep into Central Asia and to the Himalayas. China's economy was the world's largest, more than a quarter of the globe's output. A few decades after Qianlong's death, China would sink into war, famine and civil strife.

"The importance of the garden is that it is the most sophisticated design. This was the climax of the period," said Liu Chang, an architectural historian at Tsinghua University, who worked on the $3 million restoration, a joint project of the Palace Museum in Beijing and the New York-based World Monuments Fund.

A Manchu who rode in military campaigns and a visionary governor who ordered peasants to plant New World crops of corn and sweet potatoes to increase food production, Qianlong was also known for his love of arts. He poured that passion into the retirement studio and drew upon the talent of the empire, said Berliner, the curator who edited a catalog issued for the studio's renovation.

Craftsmen from southern China were brought in for the elegant woodworking. The walls of his private theater were covered with European-style trompe-l'oeil murals done by the students of Giuseppe Castiglione, a Jesuit missionary who became a court painter, bringing European painting techniques of perspective to the halls of power.

The murals of a green pine, cranes and vines of purple flowering wisteria posed a challenge for the restorers, World Monuments Fund executives said.

After the last emperor, Puyi, left the Forbidden City in 1924, the two-acre (0.8-hectare) garden area was abandoned while the rest of the sprawling 180-acre (72-hectare) palace complex was turned into a museum. The settling of the buildings over time and Beijing's dry winters and humid summers left some murals cracked and discolored.

Experts from the U.S. and the Palace Museum separated the paintings done on silk from the walls and ceiling, restoring them in a separate studio before returning them to their original location.

Yet the greatest challenge was finding craftsmen who could replicate the refined decorations that are no longer fashionable, said Berliner. One surprising find, she said, was an 80-year-old man in the eastern city of Yangzhou who still knew how to carve lanterns from goat horns.

Artisans from Zhejiang province have preserved techniques for using the inner skin of bamboo and bamboo thread in woodworking, skills needed to restore a two-story screen in the apartment's entrance.

The zeal the Qianlong Emperor showed for the project underscored the diligence he applied throughout his 60-year reign. Though he retired in 1796, he never moved into the studio, preferring to stay in the western half of the palace to watch over his son, the new emperor.

"Ultimately the greatest delight he derived from it may have been the creative process," Berliner wrote in the catalog.

Staff of the Palace Museum watches visitors near a restored painting on the wall in Juanqinzhai, a newly restored 18th-century royal studio which includes a private theater, in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008. AP Photo by Alexander F. Yuan

Staff of the Palace Museum watches visitors beside former emperor's dragon chair inside Juanqinzhai, a newly restored 18th-century royal studio which includes a private theater, in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008. AP Photo by Alexander F. Yuan

A Chinese performer plays traditional music on the stage of an theater inside Juanqinzhai, a newly restored 18th-century royal studio, while visitors record and listen in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008. AP Photo by Alexander F. Yuan

A Chinese traditional music performer waits before her performance inside Juanqinzhai, a newly restored 18th-century royal studio which includes a private theater, in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008. AP Photo by Alexander F. Yuan

Chinese traditional music performers wait before their performance inside Juanqinzhai, a newly restored 18th-century royal studio which includes a private theater, in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, Monday, Nov. 10, 2008. AP Photo by Alexander F. Yuan

Robert George, Natural Law, God, and Human Rights

Natural Law, God, and Human Rights
Robert P. George, Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University
Princeton University

Mp3, flash video also available at the link.

I'll have to reread George on human rights, but I suspect he does not diverge much from John Finnis.
Patrick Deneen, "The Future of Conservatism"
Please keep Sarge and all those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in your prayers.

from Aidan Hart.

Sarge, once you get access to the Internet back, you may enjoy this: Arming Yourself for the Future, by Greg Perry
Karen De Coster, Stuff Does Not Equal Wealth

B16: On the Lateran Basilica

On the Lateran Basilica

"The Temple of Stones Is a Symbol of the Living Church"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 9, 2008 ( Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the Angelus together with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Today the liturgy celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, called “mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world.” In fact, this basilica was the first to be built after Emperor Constantine’s edict, in 313, granted Christians freedom to practice their religion.

The emperor himself gave Pope Miltiades the ancient palace of the Laterani family, and the basilica, the baptistery, and the patriarchate, that is, the Bishop of Rome’s residence -- where the Popes lived until the Avignon period -- were all built there. The basilica’s dedication was celebrated by Pope Sylvester around 324 and was named Most Holy Savior; only after the 6th century were the names of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist added, and now is typically denominated by these latter.

Initially the observance of this feast was confined to the city of Rome; then, beginning in 1565, it was extended to all the Churches of the Roman rite. The honoring of this sacred edifice was a way of expressing love and veneration for the Roman Church, which, as St. Ignatius of Antioch says, “presides in charity” over the whole Catholic communion (Letter to the Romans, 1:1).

On this solemnity the Word of God recalls an essential truth: the temple of stones is a symbol of the living Church, the Christian community, which in their letters the Apostles Peter and Paul already understood as a “spiritual edifice,” built by God with “living stones,” namely, Christians themselves, upon the one foundation of Jesus Christ, who is called the “cornerstone” (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; 1 Peter 2:4-8; Ephesians 2:20-22). “Brothers, you are God’s building,” St. Paul wrote, and added: “holy is God’s temple, which you are” (1 Corinthians 3:9c, 17).

The beauty and harmony of the churches, destined to give praise to God, also draws us human being, limited and sinful, to convert to form a “cosmos,” a well-ordered structure, in intimate communion with Jesus, who is the true Saint of saints. This happens in a culminating way in the Eucharistic liturgy, in which the “ecclesia,” that is, the community of the baptized, come together in a unified way to listen to the Word of God and nourish themselves with the Body and Blood of Christ. From these two tables the Church of living stones is built up in truth and charity and is internally formed by the Holy Spirit transforming herself into what she receives, conforming herself more and more to the Lord Jesus Christ. She herself, if she lives in sincere and fraternal unity, in this way becomes the spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.

Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates a mystery that is always relevant: God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23-24). But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God. Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we call upon the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that she help us to become, like her, the “house of God,” living temple of his love.

[After the Angelus the Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In Italian he said:]

Today is the 70th anniversary of that sad event, which occurred during the nights of Nov. 9-10, 1938, when Nazi fury was unleashed against the Jews in Germany. Shops, offices, dwellings and synagogues were attacked and many people were also killed, initiating the systematic and violent persecution of German Jews, which ended with the Shoah. Today I still feel pain over what happened in those tragic circumstances. The memory of these things must serve to prevent similar horrors from ever happening again and must lead us to dedicate ourselves, at every level, to fight against every form of anti-Semitism and discrimination, educating the younger generations in respect and reciprocal acceptance. I invite you to pray for the victims of that time and to join with me in manifesting a deep solidarity with the Jewish world.

Troubling news continues to come from the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bloody armed skirmishes and systematic atrocities have caused and continue to cause many casualties among innocent civilians; destruction, looting and violence of every type have forced tens of thousands of persons to abandon even what little they had to survive. The number of refugees is estimated at more than 1 and a half million. To all and to each one I desire to express my special nearness, as I encourage and bless those who are working to alleviate their sufferings, among whom are the pastoral workers of the Church of that region. To families and their loved ones I offer my condolences and assure my prayers. Finally, fervently call upon all to work together to restore peace, respect for law and the dignity of every person to that land, for too long martyred.

In Italy today the Day of Thanksgiving is celebrated. This year’s theme is: “I was hungry and you gave me to eat.” I join my voice to that of the Italian bishops who, guided by these words of Jesus, draw attention to the grave and complex problem of hunger, which has become more dramatic due to price increases on staple foods. The Church, re-proposing the basic ethical principle of the universal destination of goods, following the example of the Lord Jesus, puts this principle into practice with multiple initiatives. I pray for farmers, especially for small farmers in developing countries. I encourage and bless those who work to make sure that no one lacks healthy and adequate food: whoever gives succor to the poor gives succor to Christ himself.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[In English, he said]

I greet the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims who are here today, especially the groups from Billingham in England, Heulen in the Netherlands and Los Angeles, California. Today we celebrate the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the Mother Church of all the churches throughout the world. Let us rejoice in this great sign of our unity in faith and love, and let us resolve to become living stones, constantly growing into a holy Temple in the Lord. May God bless you all!

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Jonathan Mahler, After the Imperial Presidency

(via LRC blog)
Washington Times: EXCLUSIVE: Agenda disappears from Obama Web site

Over the weekend President-elect Barack Obama scrubbed, his transition Web site, deleting most of what had been a massive agenda copied directly from his campaign Web site.

Gone are the promises on how an Obama administration would handle 25 different agenda items - everything from Iraq and immigration to taxes and urban policy - all items laid out on his campaign Web site,

Instead, the official agenda on has been boiled down to one vague paragraph proclaiming a plan “to revive the economy, to fix our health care, education, and social security systems, to define a clear path to energy independence, to end the war in Iraq responsibly and finish our mission in Afghanistan, and to work with our allies to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, among many other domestic and foreign policy objectives.”

“We are currently retooling the Web site,” said Obama spokesman Nick Shapiro.

via Drudge
Asia News: Kerala celebrating St-Alphonsa, first Indian saint
by Nirmala Carvalho
Celebrations in honour of the Clarist nun end in the presence of former Indian President Abul Kalam and Card Leonardo Sandri. In mentioning the recent wave of anti-Christian violence the prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches said: “Orissa is a name that is alive in our hearts and on our lips as well as those of the people of Europe—we are with the persecuted Church. We ask for freedom of religion in order to live in freedom and peace.”

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Crunchy Con: More on General Robert Barrow
Some news about the ST trailer @ AICN.

I tend to agree with those whose opinion has been lowered by what has been revealed--while the scenes of Spock as a child on Vulcan may be enjoyable for any fan, too much of the movie does sound like something out of a CW youth drama: Kirk leaving home to prove himself and resolve some issues, getting into a fist-fight with Spock on the Enterprise, etc. There has been a debate among fans at over whether Spock and Kirk are the same age, and how this is to be reconciled with Spock serving with Captain Pike, and so on... There was a lot of negative reaction to a proposed Starfleet Academy prequel because of the same fears that the story would be too juvenile and contrived (overtones of Muppet Babies).
Ok, I should go to Sacramento. I saw the Gregorian chant video for St. Stephen, and there are some cute girls in the schola and at Mass. I'll drag Sarge there when he comes to visit.

(link to the video via Stony Creek Digest)

Sarge brought up the new breviary that's being published (NLM post)--I'd still like to see the Roman Office reformed...

Edit. The article from the Sac Bee accompanying the video.
F. Roger Devlin reviews Wendy Shalit

He's written for The Occidental Quarterly, but is that enough to disqualify his observations and arguments regarding sex, relations between men and women, feminism, and the family? Probably not...

But does he go too far with his criticisms?
I am simply calling attention to the difficulty Shalit, in common with most women, seems to have with putting herself imaginatively in the place of a male. There may well be an evolutionary explanation for this. Men instinctively protect women because the future of the tribe lies in the children they bear. Women have adapted to this state of affairs, and it colors their moral outlook. They do not spend much time worrying about the well-being of men. Even getting them to cook supper for their husbands is probably a triumph of civilization. Their natural inclination is to let men look after themselves and take their chances in life. At the same time, they count on men to shield them from the harsher aspects of reality, and become extremely indignant at any men who fail to do so. In other words, women are naturally inclined to assume that men must take responsibility for everyone, while they are only responsible for themselves and the children. Young, still-childless women have no one left to think about but themselves and easily fall into self-absorption. One popular women's magazine is actually titled Self. I would not want the job of promoting a magazine of that title to men.

One aspect of female narcissism is a failure to think in terms of moral reciprocity. For example, here is a male columnist (Fred Reed) praising the intolerance of Mexican women for infidelity: "They can also be savagely jealous, to the point of removing body parts. But for this I respect them. Any woman worth having has every right to expect her man to keep his pants up except in her presence. He owes to her what she owes to him. Fair is fair." This is the way a man thinks. A woman is more likely to think, "I get to do as I please and you get to do as I please: fair is fair."

Does the reader suspect me of indulging in a cheap shot here? Consider, first, this passage from Shalit's first book: "Many etiquette books, in both England and America, stressed a woman's prerogative to greet a man on the street first, particularly if he was not a close friend. If she chose to greet him, he was obligated to respond in kind, but if she passed him by, there was absolutely nothing he could do about it." (RM, p. 56)

I do not mean to take issue with this rule of etiquette, which may well have a sensible rationale. My point is simply that its one-sidedness does not seem problematic or in need of explanation to Shalit. A man might at least ask whether there is some larger context that explains why, in this particular case, all rights should be with the woman and none with the man.
Is self-absorption and narcissism a problem for members of both sexes? Yes. And there is a rationale for giving women the power when it comes to courtship and rules governing social interaction (e.g. chivalry).

However, he does go on to make some good points though regarding Wendy Shalit's attempt to pave the way for a new sort of feminism...

"Home Economics"
Links from 2Blowhards
He is a guest on the 8/31/08 show of The Political Cesspool (website for the show and its archive).

I think he may be weak with regards to social history, but he does at least realize the reality of sin and how goodness is not inborn but acquired. And he appreciates Austen properly:
In fact, such "romantic" pictures amount to a kind of gold digger's pornography. In contrast to Jane Austen's plot lines, where real risks and difficulties are encountered and moral lessons can be learned, these movies are mere wish fulfillment. They set women up for disappointment by teaching them to have unrealistic expectations about love and life. And, of course, they create absurdly unattainable standards for men.